The lawyer of three priests accused of sexually abusing children at the St Joseph’s Home promised they would produce press cuttings to prove there was need for a press ban to ensure a fair trial.

Speaking at the first hearing of a Constitutional case on a request to enforce and extend a 2003 court press ban, lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia said she would be personally researching the articles that appeared on the case and if that were possible she would bring the authors to testify.

Dr Comodini Cachia said besides exhibiting the cuttings, she would summon a number of witnesses, including some who already had testified behind closed doors in the Magistrates’ Court.

Mr Justice Joseph R. Micallef put off the case to February when the first witnesses are expected to be heard.

The original ban had been issued by Magistrate Saviour Demicoli in 2003 when the case first reached the courts. He upheld a request by the priests’ lawyers, which was uncontested by the prosecution. He had also decreed the case should be held behind closed doors.

Seven years later, the issue came to the fore again with a Constitutional application filed last week in which the priests facing charges protested the ban was being breached. The request was quickly followed by another asking the Constitutional Court to stop the media from reporting the proceedings on the Constitutional application.

Eight men claimed they were abused when still minors at St Joseph’s orphanage in Sta Venera in the 1990s. Their case hit the international headlines when the victims met Pope Benedict XVI during his visit in Malta in April last year after having met Archbishop Paul Cremona.

Lawyers Gianella Caruana Curran also appeared for the accused.

Lawyers Sarah Vassallo and Noel Bartolo appeared for the Attorney General.

Police Inspector Louise Calleja represented the Commissioner of Police.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us